How Should You Warm Up Your Hands For Playing Guitar?

By Luca Turilli

Most guitar players know that it is important to warm up before beginning to practice intense technique building exercises. However, if you struggle to find enough practice time as it is, it may be tempting to skip the warm up in order to be able to have enough time left to work on the other things in your guitar practice schedule. Alternatively, you may discipline yourself to warm up every day, but for most people, their warm up does little more than increase blood flow into the fingers.

Both ways of practicing described above make your progress slower than it could be. You do need to spend time warming up before beginning to practice, but you should approach your warm up exercises with specific objectives in mind and practice them in a similar way that you do other exercises. When you do this, your progress will become much faster!

If you approach your warm ups as yet another exercise (only done slowly), you get much better results from your time spent practicing them than if you simply go through the motions, waiting for your fingers to loosen up.

One effective way to approach warm ups is by playing specific finger independence exercises. Such exercises (when done right) help you to achieve 2 things:

1. Train the fingers that "are" playing the notes to move efficiently and comfortably across the strings.

2. Train the fingers that are NOT playing to stay still and relaxed.

Over the years of my career as a performer and recording artist, I have created several highly effective finger independence exercises that I still do regularly (while keeping the things above in my mind). These exercises helped me to develop my playing to the level it is today and to remain injury free even during the periods of intense practicing, recording sessions and performances in all kinds of weather conditions with Rhapsody of Fire.

One of the ways I warm up is with special exercises designed to be played with only 2 fingers at a time. I will play through the exercise once using fingers 1 and 2, followed by another pass through it using fingers 2 and 3 and finally using fingers 3 and 4. As I do this, I pay careful attention to my technique (as described above), and even though I am only "warming up" and playing slowly, my technique is improving during this time.

When I teach specific warm up exercises to my guitar students in the Neoclassical Revelation course, I point out to them the specific goals they need to be working on when practicing an exercise. I teach them how to avoid the common mistakes of simply "moving the fingers around on autopilot" even when practicing slow "warm up" exercises, and this helps their technique and speed to improve much faster than ever before!

Do you want me to show you how quickly you can become a great neoclassical guitar maestro? It's easier than you think. Visit my neoclassical guitar lessons page to begin today!

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